Public schools in Kentucky can now teach kids about the Bible through elective courses, thanks to a new bill approved by Governor Matt Bevin on Tuesday.
The bill quickly passed the House and Senate.
Rep. D.J. Johnson, R-Owensboro, sponsored the bill and said students need to understand the role the Bible plays in America’s history.
“It really did set the foundation that our founding fathers used to develop documents like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights,” Johnson said. “All of those came from principles from the Bible.”
School boards now have the option of developing a Bible literacy class as part of their social studies curriculum. The course would not be a requirement for students, but an elective.
“The idea that we would not want this to be an option for people in school, that would be crazy. I don’t know why every state would not embrace this, why we as a nation would not embrace this,” Bevin told people during a ceremony at the Capitol Rotunda.
Meanwhile, the Kentucky branch of the ACLU is concerned about how the new law will be implemented in schools.
They told WDRB-TV they want to monitor how the law will take effect.
“We want to make sure that teachers can teach and make sure that they don’t go in to preach,” Advocacy Director Kate Miller said.
Supporters assure the Department of Education will have a hand in helping schools develop the course.
“As long as we’re careful with the curriculum itself, there won’t be any constitutional issues,” Johnson said. “And we’ll do that.”
Bevin said critics should not be concerned about the bill.
“You could be an atheist, and you would appreciate there’s a lot of wisdom in the Bible,” he said.
The bill takes effect Friday.